It's probably no surprise that we firmly believe that social media represents the single most important factor in digital brand awareness after search engine marketing. Intriguingly, most SME's we meet show notable concern and confusion over this form of marketing, often citing reports from other businesses about its lack of tangible results. This got us thinking and spurred us on to carry out research, in order to see what the SME community was actually up to on social media.
To crack this nut, we started by surveying 50 businesses from the North West, specifically from the South Manchester and North East Cheshire areas.
What we found was that of the 50 business analysed, 100% were using social media to promote their company in one-way shape or another. Of course, this probably isn't that much of a surprise when you consider that social media provides us with an accessible, easy to comprehend and seemingly cheap platform on which to shout about products and services.
What did become clear, however, was that the vast majority of those businesses had not set any performance targets or implemented a strategy about their social media communications. So why then, when deciding to invest their time and efforts into social media, do most businesses, who set targets for all other areas of their business, fail to do so for social media?
Our conclusion is that is precisely because it is fun, easy, accessible, risk-free and cheap that most businesses are simply not taking it seriously enough. Conversely, if the business needed to invest £650 per month into social media marketing – they would without question, want to see a return and implement performance tracking.
Most of these businesses managed their social media internally, often adding this responsibility to the schedule of whoever showed a flair for Facebook or Twitter. When challenged on this decision and asked to place a value on that member of staffs input to the business, there's often a sense of the penny dropping as realisation dawned upon them.
Let's for example:
- Assume that 'Gary' who works in the admin team, should be adding £500 worth of value to that business each day.
- Gary, however, has also been tasked with spending 4 hours a week on managing the companies social media channel.
- Some basic math shows us that Gary is clocking up to 24 days out of the year managing the companies social media.
- 24 x £500 = £12,000.
So bizarrely, when asked to spend £12,000 a year on social media most SME's would need to be strongly convinced. When asked if Gary should do it – then the business is all too willing to have a go. Surely it's time for a sanity check?
The world is your oyster
Now we're not wanting to put the flames out on the passion of many SME's for using social media. But we do want to explore the measures businesses can put into place when managing their social media to make it more effective. When it comes to social media, the world really is your oyster – we're just going to help you shuck it open.